What are the advantages of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs? Saving money and the environment can be as easy as changing a light bulb. If every American homeowner took a few seconds to replace just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR® qualified compact fluorescent, we would save:
- Enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year
- More than $600 million in annual energy costs
- The equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of more than 800,000 cars.
(Source: ENERGY STAR®)
A bright idea
Today’s CFLs are economically priced and provide high-quality, warm white light. Smaller and slimmer than earlier models, they can be used in a variety of fixtures such as chandeliers, ceiling fans, recessed lights and bathroom vanities. CFLs also work with dimmer switches and three-way lamps.
A CFL …
- Provides the same amount of light as an ordinary bulb, but uses about 75 percent less energy
- Generates approximately 75 percent less heat, cutting home cooling costs
- Lasts up to 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb
- Saves about $30 in energy costs over each bulb’s lifetime.
(Source: ENERGY STAR®)
Watch your energy savings grow
By installing CFLs in your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures, you could save $65 or more per year in energy costs. And with the bulbs’ longer life spans, you can go for years without having to buy or change light bulbs.
Cleaner technology, greener world
A CFL may be small, but its environmental advantages are big. Because of its lower energy requirement, just one bulb can prevent more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.
For best results
Get longer life and optimal savings from your CFLs with these tips:
- Install them in the most frequently used areas of your home – typically the kitchen, living room, recreation room and outdoors.
- Before using with a timer, check the lamp package, which will indicate if the CFL is compatible with electronic timers or photocells.
- If using with a dimmer switch, select a bulb that is specifically designed for this purpose. Using a regular CFL with a dimmer may shorten bulb life.
- To gain the most financial benefit, leave the CFL on for more than 15 minutes at a time. Frequent switching on and off will shorten the bulb’s life.
- A CFL may generally be used in an enclosed fixture, as long as the enclosed fixture is not recessed.
- Many CFLs can be used outdoors in enclosed fixtures. Check the lamp or the package to make sure it is approved for outdoor use, and verify the lowest recommended operating temperature.
CFL safety and disposal
It’s important to practice safe handling and correct disposal of CFLs. A very small amount of mercury inside the bulb is used to generate light – 99 percent less than an old mercury thermometer – and it is released only if the bulb is broken.
Follow these tips to prevent CFL breakage:
- Always screw and unscrew the bulb by its base (not the glass), and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket.
- If a CFL bulb should break, refer immediately to the Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury fact sheet on the ENERGY STAR® Web site for safe handling.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that consumers take advantage of local recycling options for disposal of CFLs.
Check the Web sites below for the most up-to-date information on CFL disposal practices and collection facilities. The Home Depot now offers free CFL recycling! Simply bring any expired, unbroken CFL bulb to a Home Depot store for proper disposal.
For additional information on CFL recycling in your area, contact your municipal solid waste agency to find out about local collection programs. Many organizations are involved in the recycling of CFLs at the local and national level.